In the novel “Red Scarf Girl” by Ji Li Jiang, the theory of Marxism is at play as Ji Li strives to help the reader understand the impact that the Cultural Revolution in China had on her family and on her country. By using the struggle between the social classes, Ji Li helps the reader gain a greater understanding of the negative impact that a corrupt government can have and often times does have on the lives of its people. As the reader moves throughout the novel, it makes sense why, by the end of the book, Ji Li Jiang would call China her country but America her home, for she came to understand just how much she appreciates freedom.
It is essential to understand the cultural background of China prior to looking at literary devices and what is at play. This is important because it is the very culture that is at the center of this novel. Professor G.P. Deshpande stated the following regarding the Cultural Revolution:
“China’s ‘Great Proletarian Revolution’ is not the product of a whim or fantasy of ageing Mao. It is a well-planned drive to [mobilize] the people, to make them more vigilant and tackle the enormous problems of China” (Deshpande, 453).
The initial focus of the Cultural Revolution was not one of politics but one of doing away with those things that represented “the old China.” Continuing his discussion on the Cultural Revolution, Deshpande puts forth the following:
“The Cultural Revolution now unfolding touches people to their very souls and constitutes a new stage in the development of the socialist revolution. After the bourgeoisie has been overthrown, it is still trying to use ‘the four olds’ (old ideas, old customs, old culture, and old habits) and is endeavoring to sta...
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...troy the country?
How did it destroy the people?
Use examples from the book of when the people had to control their good desires. Look at when people were abused for no apparent reason or without good evidence such as Ji Li’s father. Show how it also destroyed the lives of those who now were the bourgeoisie; these people would learn that being ignorant and rude were okay; this cannot be sustained in a society.
Thus, it is evident that if a people are to flourish they must not be bound by chains or split into social classes so as to make certain people think that they are better than others. The ultimate goal is to help people understand their full potential by teaching them correct principles and then by letting the people govern themselves (Smith). It is to this end that each individual and country has been created so as to reach its full potential.
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